Bridging the Gap: Exploring Canadian Pets and Wildlife with Newcomers

1:30PM – 2:15PM
Room: St Laurent 8

Allie Holloway, Manager: Outreach, Ottawa Humane Society
Stephanie Millar, French Coordinator: Humane Education, Ottawa Humane Society

Canada is a country that celebrates its diversity as one of its strengths. According to the 2016 Census, 21.9% of the population reported that they were or had been a landed immigrant or permanent resident of Canada. In addition to thousands of refugees seeking asylum, between the period of 2011-2016, 1,212,075 new immigrants permanently settled in Canada.

There are many big adjustments for families who have moved from other countries to Canada. Among differences such as language and climate, there are also many cultural differences such as pet ownership and the role that animals play in our day-to-day lives that newcomers experience. It is well-known that the concept of animal welfare varies greatly throughout the world. This panel will discuss the relevance of Canadian humane education programming for newcomers, related to wild and domestic animals.

Through delivering animal-related newcomer education over the past few years, humane educators have recognized that many newcomers are eager to learn about dog safety, animal behaviour and training, common pet ownership practices and how to peacefully co-exist with urban wildlife in their communities.

Newcomer education is an emerging topic in humane education and is constantly evolving – there is still a lot learn. This panel will have representatives from a few likeminded humane societies engaged in this type of programming, as well as a representative from a community service organization in Ottawa that serves newcomers. The session will explore common presentation topics, frequently asked questions and shared experiences in working with this diverse group of clients. Finally, the presentation will end with lessons learned on how to effectively deliver programming to this audience, considering barriers such as language and cultural beliefs.


  1. The value of animal-related newcomer education in Canada.
  2. Knowledge gaps that exist within newcomer communities related humane education.
  3. Lessons learned in developing this unique programming.


Allie Holloway has worked at the Ottawa Humane Society for six years and is currently the Manager: Outreach. She is passionate about outreach program development and humane education. In her career, she and her team have successfully developed and implemented a variety of outreach and humane education programs, for children, youth and adults. She truly believes in the OHS mission and strives to help build a more humane and compassionate community for all animals through her work.

Stephanie Millar has been around animals her entire life. She is very involved with dog training, obedience, and a number of competitive dog sports, including agility and disc work. Stephanie is currently French Coordinator: Humane Education at the Ottawa Humane Society and is passionate about educating youth and pet owners about animal welfare topics. She is fully bilingual and has worked to develop French humane education programming for the Ottawa community.